QUEENS — A group of residents, activists and families who lost their loved ones in accidents will march next weekend along some of the most dangerous intersections of Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, hoping to push for a redesign of the notorious thoroughfare.
While walking from McDonald Park to Queens Borough Hall, a distance of approximately 1.5 miles, marchers will cross several of the busiest Queens Boulevard intersections in the area, including Yellowstone Boulevard, 71st Avenue, Ascan Avenue and Union Turnpike, the organizers said.
The march will be followed by a rally.
The city said earlier this year that it is committed to making improvements along Queens Boulevard — nicknamed the "Boulevard of Death."
The stretch has been cited by the Department of Transportation as one of 47 “priority corridors,” identified by the city as the most accident-prone streets and to be targeted for safety upgrades under Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan.
Last month, the DOT held the first in what it said would be a series of workshops on how to improve the thoroughfare, with dozens of people coming to P.S. 11 in Woodside to share their ideas.
But rally organizers said they want to make sure that concrete steps leading to redesigning Queens Boulevard will be taken swiftly.
“The purpose of our action now is to say: 'Thank you DOT for committing to redesigning the boulevard; now let’s do it and let’s do it right away,'” said Peter Beadle, a member of Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee, which organizes the rally along with Families for Safe Streets.
Beadle said the group wants the DOT to hold additional workshops in all neighborhoods along the boulevard as soon as possible in order to get residents' input, which would later be used in the redesign process.
More than 70 pedestrians were killed in accidents on Queens Boulevard from 1993 to 2001. In 1997 alone, 18 pedestrians were killed there, according to statistics provided by the DOT.
Despite numerous safety improvements, installed along the boulevard over the years, the thoroughfare is still considered dangerous.
The intersection of Queens Boulevard and 71st Avenue alone has seen two fatal accidents in the past two years.
“There should be a sense of urgency here,” Beadle said.
The DOT said Wednesday that following the workshop in Woodside the agency hopes to implement some changes along that portion of Queens Boulevard later this year.
Other segments of the boulevard will be looked at in workshops in spring 2016, the DOT said.
The march is scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at 12:30 p.m. It will begin at McDonald Park in Forest Hills (Queens Boulevard, bet. Yellowstone and 70th Road) and end with a rally in front of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.